Recently, while making some pumpkin pancakes, the recipe called for nutmeg. I dug through the cupboard, and, sure enough, there was some nutmeg. Hmm…when was the last time I used nutmeg. I’m quite certain I had never opened a can of pumpkin in my own home (I’ve made pumpkin pie at my mom’s house), and I cannot remember purchasing or using the nutmeg. Spices have a somewhat limited shelf life, and I certainly have some old spices. The bay leaves I bought in college, circa 2004, the Greek seasoning my husband had when we started dating five years ago, and several others that have somehow appeared in my cabinet. I hate to throw spices out if I’m not sure they’re old, but who wants garlic powder that’s been in the cupboard a decade?
I have come up with two simple spice lessons:
1. Chili powder and salt are the only spices I should buy in significant quantities currently. For sure, the first time I buy a spice I should purchase the mini container. If I don’t use the mini in a couple years, it’s definitely not economical to buy in bulk.
2. Use the omnipresent permanent marker to write the date purchased on the lid when unpacking groceries. I’ll know when a spice has been around way too long, and I can identify spices that I use quickly and should start buying in larger containers.